Students of Kingston Technical High School and members of the school’s 4-H Club attended a comprehensive training session on the set up and maintenance of container gardens last week Friday as part of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) CityAdapt pilot project in Jamaica, designed to introduce a range of Nature-based Solutions to the country’s urban communities and schools in order to bolster resilience and adaptability to climate change.
The CityAdapt project in partnership with the Jamaica 4-H Clubs has piloted a suite of climate-smart interventions in city schools, including hydroponics (the practice of growing plants in a water-based nutrient-rich solution rather than in soil), rainwater harvesting, drip irrigation, water storage systems, and greenhouses in order to equip students with first-hand knowledge of the practices that will help them to respond to the realities of a changing climate, particularly in smaller, densely populated city spaces.
Facilitated by Jonros Brown and Tanique Williams from the College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE), the exciting hands-on training at Kingston Technical High School’s greenhouse exposed students to the best practices for maintaining container gardens, including how to plant, water, recognise soil types and fertilise crops.
“Container gardens are ideal for planting in urban areas where space for farming is much less than in rural areas.” remarked Brown. In addition, container gardens are nature-based interventions that help provide economic opportunities as well as build community resilience to climate change by providing a source of fresh, nutritious produce that encourages long-term food security.
“Some of what we grow goes to parents, some we sell, and some we donate,” explained the students who tend a greenhouse boasting a range of crops including tomatoes, scotch bonnet peppers and lettuce; with cabbage, callaloo, okra, and pak choi to be introduced in coming weeks.
“Kingston Technical is one of the many schools that we have done interventions in. We’ve done four interventions at the school, including container gardening, rainwater harvesting, irrigation and refurbishing of the school’s greenhouse,” explained Jamaica 4-H Clubs CityAdapt project lead, Shunelle Nevers.
“All of these projects are really important because we are in the urban space, and so we want to ensure that we can create greenery in the city as much as possible. Everything that we do here is to facilitate climate change adaptation, and to introduce the farm-to-table concept to the community,” she added.
Among the beneficiary schools with CityAdapt nature-based pilot interventions stewarded by the Jamaica 4-H Clubs include Tivoli High School, Camperdown High School, St. Andrew Technical High School, and the Abilities Foundation.